If ever there were a cure for paralysis by analysis, this approach might be it.
So often, we spend our time trying to talk ourselves into why something can work when maybe we should be asking, “Why can’t it?”
It’s a mindset that CEO Brady Nash has worked to instill in his West Fargo-based BNG Team for more than a decade, and if the payment-processing company’s exponential growth is any indication, the mantra seems to be resonating.
Don’t take our word for it, though.
This month, we’re handing the reins over to Nash and his team to let you hear directly from them—on getting employees to buy in, on staying grateful and on the inevitable challenges and frustrations that come with building a multi-million-dollar company.
How to succeed in Business
without by really trying
15 Rules for Building a Successful Company
By Brady Nash
CEO, BNG Team
A bit about BNG
The BNG Team story starts in 2004, when three college friends—Tyler Buechler, Brady Nash and Ryan Goodman—met while attending NDSU and fell in love with entrepreneurship. They dropped out of college and formed BNG Team. With roots in the payment-processing industry, they wanted to create solutions that benefited businesses operating in small North Dakota towns.
Actually made up of four different in-house companies, here’s a breakdown of the BNG Team brands:
• Payment processing for businesses
• Wireless, mail order & phone-payment processing
• E-commerce-shopping cart integration
• Gift & loyalty cards
• Point-of-sale solutions
• Point-of-sale hardware
• Point-of-sale software
• Website development
• E-commerce development
• Copywriting services
• Marketing services
• Invoicing software for businesses
• Integrated with various CRM softwares
• Integrated with multiple accounting softwares
1. Show, don’t tell.
You always hear owners and CEOs say, “We want employees who will run through a brick wall for us.” Okay, great, would you run through a brick wall for them? Have you shown them? Prove it. I can tell my wife I love her, but showing her is a whole ‘nother ballgame.
I tell our team members, “We care about you and don’t want to pay you the least amount we think we can.” And we back it up. We average close to a 10-percent pay raise, historically.
I’m always going to show them that leading by example isn’t the best way to lead, it’s the only way. And leading is at the front of the line, not at the back. It’s not sending other people.
2. Remember that excellence is the status of not just going through the motions.
To use a relevant example, say you shoveled the driveway. Is it actually clean? Is there still powder on there? Technically, you did it, but did you do a crappy job?
It’s the exact same way with customers. When you call them, it can’t just be about checking the box and saying you took care of them. It has to be, “Hey, so-and-so, just wanted to check in. Is everything working? Good! Let us know if you need anything. Here’s my number. I just want to make sure you’re taken care of.”
The little things really do go a long way. And that, for me, embodies what BNG is.
The Blessed Life: Unlocking the Rewards of Generous Living
By Robert Morris
This book will transform your life for the better, bringing you guaranteed financial results. But it will do more than that. It will change every area of your life: marriage, family, health and relationships. With humor, passion, and clarity, Robert Morris presents the secrets of living a blessed life both financially and spiritually.*
*Summary from Amazon
3. No excuses. Always find a way.
We value not just excellence but creativity, which, quite simply, is thinking outside the box. “No” isn’t acceptable. We have to figure it out.
It might not be normal, it might be expensive, I don’t recommend it, but here’s how we can do it.
I’d say our biggest strength is that we are way more ambitious than smart.
4. Always remain happy and grateful.
Back when we were coming up with our core values, we came up with the first four and I just kept thinking , “We’re missing something that embodies who we are. What is it?” It was “happy and grateful.”
And for me, that’s the one that stands out.
It’s something where, if our coworker, Dave, wins the lottery, are we happy for him? Or do we say, “I buy lotto tickets. I’ve been buying them for three years. I never win the lottery!”
Sorry, that person can’t work for us.
I want people who are like, “I’m so pumped for Dave and his family and his kids!” That’s a whole mentality shift of who someone is. You want someone who’s happy for people, who genuinely cares, and who isn’t negative and poisoning your company.
What you might not know about…Web Design
By Kimberly Pigeon
Web Design Manager, BNG Design
BNG Design creates websites and marketing plans for businesses. We’re passionate, creative and focused on the growth of our clients’ businesses.
Every company needs a website if they want to succeed. However, many don’t realize that websites should never be static pages. Websites should always be dynamic, avoiding situations where the website is “stuck” with old content that was last updated in 2010.
What many businesses don’t know about typical web design firms is they also get “stuck” in how they run their businesses. Here’s how the typical web design business operates:
1. They focus on project-based work and an hourly model.
2. They sell a website for a specific dollar amount.
3. They finish the project and send the final bill.
4. The revenue dries up because it’s not a recurring income source.
5. They struggle with revenue, struggle to make payroll and can’t pay their bills.
Knowing this, we learned that we wanted to do something different with our project-based business. It’s our goal to serve businesses with excellence, while generating revenue through a residual source. And while other website-development firms and marketing agencies wrestled with seasons of revenue that are full of peaks and valleys, we took note. We decided we didn’t want that. We also noticed changes within the web industry that were trending to reward websites that updated their content on a regular basis. In other words, there was demand to create a recurring service from this shift in the web industry. This knowledge helped us transform how we operate our business and deliver our services.
You see, the web is about change. The search engines—and your prospects—want fresh stuff to read. And with businesses demanding this type of service for things like SEO/SEM and website maintenance, we adjusted the way we operate in order to better serve our clients. Businesses also need to have their websites updated so they’re protected from online threats. The value from a monthly preventative plan that guards against things like malware is priceless. Most attacks to a website can be prevented with a little bit of website maintenance through a recurring service. It’s recurring services like these that have given us the operational freedom to grow and help other Fargo-Moorhead companies best utilize the web.
Solving problems by using industry knowledge is what’s allowed BNG Design to operate as a profitable web design company and help other businesses get the best outcome and return-on-investment.
5. Feed the hand that feeds you.
I really believe it’s a blessing to be able to give and help other people out. It’s not just about having. I’ve seen enough to know how empty that is.
I want to take care of my family, take care of my parents and take care of the people who helped us make it: our employees. And you better be taking care of them because they’re reason the business even exists.
6. It’s your company. Own it.
In the past, part of me wanted to step back and stay out of the spotlight, but I realized that I was really hurting the company by doing it.
If i’m leading the company, it’s important for me to engage and do things like interact with the media. Because it’s not only something our team can be proud of, it also gets us recognition, helps our sales team, helps our marketing team, all of those things.
You need a figurehead. You have to have someone out there, and it’s an important part of growing and being successful. Anytime I’ve tried to back out of that role, it backfires.
7. Never forget that your performance has a ripple effect.
We care about people, but we don’t just say it. We show it. If you walked around our office, you’d see how close-knit we all are. We’re a family. I don’t take lightly that I have 35 full-time people with families and kids who depend on that income and that job. And how if I screw up, it could affect all of them.
What you might not know about…Point-of-sale
By Geoff Ziebell
COO, BNG Techologies
At the heart of what we do, BNG Technologies sells point-of-sale (POS) solutions to restaurants and bars. The goal of these solutions is improve their bottom line. But there’s more to a good point-of-sale system—and what it actually can do for a restaurant and bar—that many business owners don’t realize.
When you’re out to dinner at your favorite Fargo-Moorhead restaurant, you’re probably unaware of the process that magically happens when you order your food and drink and pay your bill with a credit card. When you order food, the waitstaff uses the point-of-sale system to choose the menu item, at which point that order goes to the kitchen staff, who sees the order and makes the food. All the while, this entire transaction is being tracked to help the general manager or owner see important data such as what food is sold, what ingredients are used and when they need to order more inventory in the future.
One of the most important aspects the public doesn’t know about the restaurant industry is that a good POS system can report and track everything, and you can use this reporting information to make better choices. It empowers business owners to make decisions that help grow their establishment. We see this benefit as one that’s missed the most by small business owners.
Every business wants to make good decisions. You’re no different. You want to hire the right people, manage your expenses, and execute well on your sales and marketing. For a restaurant and bar owner, a point-of-sale system doesn’t simply swipe credit cards, and that shouldn’t be the expectation. It’s an investment into a software that is a critical tool to help you run your entire business.
Whoever is writing the check for a business should want to know what their point-of-sale system can do to make them better. A good POS solution does that. They help small- and medium-sized restaurants, bars, and boutique retailers improve their bottom line and their business.
We want to help guide bar- and restaurant-owners through using a point-of-sale system, which can easily be tailored for use in any sort of food-service environment. From fine dining and table-service restaurants to quick-service, pizza delivery, and even take-out establishments, point-of-sale solutions can help.
8. Don’t try to be something you’re not. Embrace both your strengths and weaknesses.
I am of very average intelligence, but I’m very good at grabbing the right types of people, putting a team together, and saying, “Hey, you are amazing at this.” I really believe my job is to coach everyone else up.
My job is to find the right people and put them in an environment where they can be successful.
I really had to learn to not micromanage and to step back, trust other people and put them in a situation where they can succeed. And then just support them.
9. Perfect is the enemy of good.
Life is like a moving pendulum, and every once in a while, it feels like it gets to a point where everything is perfect—I have a good grasp on the business, my wife is good, I’m spending a lot of time with my kids, my health is good.
Then, as soon as it’s there, the pendulum starts moving and maybe my wife or kids are struggling or the business is getting away. Maybe my family life is good, but if i don’t take care of the business stuff, it will start creeping into my personal life.
And I know I’m never going to be perfect. I’m never going to be the perfect husband or the perfect dad or the perfect CEO, but that’s what I feel life is all about is that it’s never perfect. And that’s not a copout. You just have to keep balancing and remember to not beat yourself up too much. Just understand and always work to get better.
10. There’s not always time for small talk, and that’s okay.
The biggest concern I have about growing is creating an overly corporate culture.
I’ve been able to build a pretty good relationship with almost everyone I’ve hired to this point, but as you keep growing and hiring more people, you can’t go every morning and have a 5-10-minute conversation with everyone in the building—even if you’d like to.
So I tell people, “Hey, just so you know, when I walk by, it’s not that I don’t want to talk to you. I just can’t engage because I have stuff to do.” I feel it’s important to communicate that so they don’t think I’m just brushing them off. They understand that I have to be very direct with my time, a lot of the time.
What you might not know about…Getting Started
By Ryan Goodman
ConnectBooster is a software that helps companies solve their payment-automation issues, accounts-receivable issues and accounting issues. The result of this solution is getting companies paid without having to lift a finger.
What many people don’t realize about creating a software company is how hard it is early on. The difficulties experienced were with things such as refining our company plan as unforeseen challenges appeared, figuring out how to gain interest and traction inside of a market, developing and refining the project-management process, and integrating with multiple types of software. It was all exhausting.
What we found in creating ConnectBooster’s software was that most service-based companies fail to think about things like accounts receivable, their invoicing process and even their accounting. We were no different, as we failed at the same things. Often times, your only focus is on sales, marketing and the day-to-day chaos of running your company.
So we set out to create a software to simplify how our clients pay us and to automate accounting tasks such as reconciling accounting transactions in QuickBooks. We also wanted to leverage our CRM software and run our customers’ contracts through our billing, with the ultimate goal of getting paid automatically. We didn’t want a manual process to collect money owed to us. Once we implemented this software inside our own companies, we decided to monetize it by going to market and selling this inside a niche vertical.
Getting to this point was the toughest part. We weren’t ready for the surprises that came with starting a software company, but we just kept going and focused on the end goal—that goal being the development of a software that solves perpetual problems for service-based companies.
The key for us in software development is learning to hire good people and letting them work. We struggled with things like delegation—as many entrepreneurs do—but we learned valuable lessons along the way. Much of our initial success has come from the ability to scale and the value of surrounding yourself with a good support team. Hiring the right team members is so important.
Above all, we really believe that we’re revolutionizing the entire way the SMB market handles getting paid. From this, we get our satisfaction from making a difference in other people’s lives. For us, it’s not about the sale, the marketing or even our solution. Our fulfillment comes from helping our customers, creating jobs that pay our employees, and through creating jobs in the local and regional Fargo-Moorhead economy.
For ConnectBooster, it’s about building a culture that has the staying power of a team of people and employees that feel the same way.
11. However you do it, provide more value.
I took this one from Tony Robbins: To really be successful, do more than what everyone else is doing.
Do more for your customers than what anyone else is doing for them.
We’re in a commodity business. Pretty much all banks offer payment-processing. So why work with us? Is it because we’re local? That’s one little checkbox, but a lot of people can say they’re local. For us, it’s, “We have to do more for them. How can we provide more value?”
12. Be anything but mediocre.
I’m an extremist at all levels.
If I drank, I’d be an alcoholic. If I smoked, I’d be a chainsmoker. If someone brought in a cake, I wouldn’t just have one piece. I’d eat the whole freaking thing. But if you can channel that into productive things, it’s very good.
One of my mantras is: You don’t half-ass. You either do it right or you don’t do it. There’s no in-between. And I really believe that, in business, you can’t half-commit.
What you might not know about…Marketing
By Scott Heinle
VP Corporate Sales, BNG Holdings
At BNG Holdings, we exist to help businesses accept payments from their customers. We do this by offering payment solutions to businesses across North America and in the Fargo-Moorhead region. Those payments might be credit card transactions, ACH acceptance, e-check, even e-commerce.
But unless you’ve spent time working in the credit-card industry, what you probably don’t know is how difficult it can be to market this service in an incredibly competitive industry.
Let’s face it: The credit card industry is notorious for integrity issues, theft and poor service. On top of that, it’s nearly impossible for a business to decipher their monthly statements to know whether or not they’re getting a fair deal. The way to get around these labels in our sales and marketing is by sticking to our core focus, which is knowledge.
In the credit card and payments-processing industry, knowledge is the best way to set yourself apart from the competition. It’s important because in a sea of noise, where ever-changing financial rules and regulations confuse businesses, we help them clarify their payments process. And in the process of using our knowledge to educate other businesses, we end up building trust and credibility.
Besides using the power of knowledge to market our services, one of the things we focus on is catering payment processing solutions based upon a business’s unique needs. No one business is the same. We’ve learned to not be cookie-cutter in what we offer and we avoid situations where we present the same answer as everyone else. We’ve learned in our experience that a business’s desire is to get paid faster and at a lower cost. Businesses also love the value of eliminating redundant tasks such as double and triple data entry in accounting and in their CRM software.
What we’ve also found is that the best way to succeed in this business is to look at your customers through the lens of a long-term relationship. It’s not a quick cash grab. Small- and medium-sized businesses are sick of being treated like an arbitrary number. Merchant services can be like that, and it can be extremely frustrating to work with as a business. So the next time you send an invoice or set up an ACH payment, think about how knowledge has helped clarify payments processing and how knowing what to expect has helped your business. And be sure to consider solutions that are creative to help solve your billing problems.
13. Don’t confuse personal achievements with what’s best for the business.
When I was younger, I used to take pride in being the best sales guy and having all the records, “Hey, look at me! I’m doing this!” It was all about what I was achieving and accomplishing and, “Oh, you have a problem? I’ll take care of it!”
And pride can be a dangerous thing because we weren’t necessarily growing in a way that was best for the company.
At the end of the day, all you should really do is look back and ask yourself, “What did I do today so that the company is in a better position than when I started?”
Give the employees the glory because you don’t need that. You don’t want it to be about you or how great you are. Make it about the business and the company.
14. No amount of money can trump true passion.
Something I’ve asked myself before is, “If today someone offered me $50 million for our company, what would I do?” And I can honestly say that I’d want to keep doing exactly what I’m doing.
I’m working with my best friends and I’m a competitor. We’re competing against multi-billion-dollar companies and I’m just like: Why not? Why can’t we be the next Great Plains (Software)? Not because I need to be a billionaire but honestly just because: Why can’t we do it? Wouldn’t that be cool?
We’re young enough, we have the recurring revenue, we’re in industries that have no ceiling. So why not?
For the second consecutive year, BNG was named to the Inc. 5000, an annual ranking from Inc. magazine that lists the country’s top 5,000 fastest-growing private companies.
15. Do the right things and let success be a byproduct.
What I want BNG to be is an example—nationally, maybe even worldwide—of how you treat people and how you build a business without being focused on bottom-line profitability. That is my goal.
Because once you get past the materialistic and financial side of things, that’s when you’re like, “Yeah, it’s worth it.”
That’s what makes you want to keep going and fighting and never settle. I’m just a person where the status quo is never good enough. It’s always: What can we do to be better?